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Comedy, Cancer, and Cannabis: Alan Park’s Wild Ride

October 25, 2017
(Photo by Kim Sakamoto)
By all accounts, things were going well for Alan Park in the mid-2000s. The comedian was becoming a household name in Canada, appearing as a regular cast member on the CBC’s weekly sketch comedy show Royal Canadian Air Farce.
The primetime cable show, which kept tabs on the minutiae of the country’s political and cultural inner workings, saw Park become the regular face of many of the show’s political impersonations, from former Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the United States’ Donald Rumsfeld, and even Barack Obama. The show ran weekly until 2008, and carries on through annual new year’s specials. Park would continue working with Air Farce for these specials, although soon, to the dismay of his fans, it appeared as if Park had dropped into near oblivion.

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But as he reveals in Green Crush with Alan Park, the weekly podcast he launched earlier this year, the comedian got some not-so-good news that saw him indefinitely sidelined from the comedy acting and writing gigs he loved dearly.

That news? “I had stage-four cancer,” Park tells his listeners on an episode of Green Crush.

He says he had then been told—two different times—that he was on a “guaranteed deathbed.” It wasn’t a question if he would die, but when.

Park’s acerbic wit underscores a fearless attitude perfectly suited to someone who’s twice beat stage-four cancer.

Now, with the cancer diagnosis a few years behind him, Park says he’s “living proof” that cannabis be used as a treatment tool in the fight against cancer, having fought an “astronomical” prostate-specific antigen (PSA) value of over 700 down to less than two, lower than the normal upper limit of four.

In a video filmed by Canadian cannabis activist Russell Barth that now has more than 10,000 views on YouTube, Park says taking increasing doses of concentrated Rick Simpson Oil helped cure the cancer that, as he recently put on his show, was “irreversible, aggressive, advanced, terminal cancer that had already metastasized into most of my skeleton.”

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In Green Crush, the comedian-turned-podcaster hopes to use his broadcast platform to not only talk about the benefits cannabis can have in cancer treatment, but also to attack “myths” about cannabis he says are being spread by the government.

On Green Crush, the comedian-turned-podcaster talks about cannabis’ cancer-fighting benefits and attacks cannabis myths spread by the government.

Among the show’s segments is the aptly-named What About The Children?, in which Park shines a light on what he says are phony arguments that cannabis needs to stay illegal because of the effects it might have on youth.

“What about the children of the people who have been sentenced to die?” he says during one such segment, flipping the script on prohibitionists while alluding that cancer patients could use cannabis. “Children who then get to see their dad deteriorate. What about those children?”

Where Royal Canadian Air Farce mocked the little details of Canada’s political goings, Park does the same with Canada’s legalization plan and the ballooning costs that law enforcement officials they say they’ll face.

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A frequent target of Park’s is Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, especially since her ministers announced that the province would restrict all forthcoming sales of recreational cannabis to 150 government-run stores and one government-run website.

“It’s nothing more than an extension of the tribal control that’s been on top of our society from the beginning of time,” Park said during one episode. “They don’t want other people getting in the way and saying ‘Hey – it could be like this! We might be able to consider these possibilities.’ No. They’re just putting up a bogus, full-of-shit wall of nonsense defense and a lot of people are chilling out and taking it easy on and not fighting hard enough.”

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You can tell Park has been through some stuff. His voice sounds much more gruff than it had on Air Farce, and the acerbic wit he now employs underscores a give-no-fucks attitude that only someone who twice beat stage-four cancer could have. “I really didn’t think I’d be talking about these things like this three or four years ago,” he told his podcast listeners. “I was lying on a couch wondering if I could get upstairs to go to the bathroom, now I feel like I just want to tear the walls down.”

The whole angle Park brings to the show is one of a conspiracy-theorist radio host.

The whole angle Park brings to the show is one of a conspiracy-theorist radio host. And that’s probably because Park comes fresh off hosting the podcast “Conspiracy Queries: With Alan Park,” in which he “questioned the official story, attempts to reveal the conspiracy, and uncovers how and why we are being lied to.”

Now, Park is doing that with cannabis, becoming a sort of Canadian-marijuana Alex Jones (without the fascist sympathies and food-supplement hucksterism). There’s no stopping Alan Park—on every episode of Green Crush he cites some of the science behind the notion that cannabis may treat cancer. And now the man won’t stop until he’s shared that message with everyone.

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After hours of listening to the podcast, I reached out to the man himself, with a handful of questions I hadn’t heard him address on Green Crush.

Pressed to identify his biggest hope for Canada’s impending cannabis legalization, he tells me, “My best hope for the impending legislation would be for the general public to be aware that the inherent architectural structure of this legalization is so heavily flawed on so many points.”

What about his biggest fear? “That no one will care and that they will get away with it.”

Finally, does he miss doing political impersonation on TV? “Yeah a little bit,” he tells me. “I wanted to do a Joel Osteen gig a while ago when he wasn’t letting Hurricane Harvey victims into his church. I thought I’d have a good time with that. It’s not a burning desire, but now I’m incorporating voice work into my show.”

Listen to Green Crush with Alan Park here.

Harrison Jordan's Bio Image

Harrison Jordan

Harrison Jordan is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and enjoys reading and writing about the regulatory affairs of cannabis in Canada and around the world.

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  • skullnbones

    Fuckin’ A!

  • hvaiallverden

    Yeah, cannabis, the debate is bonkers, in the MSM, but also among the so called alt nets, where dogmas rule as much as everywhere else.
    The moment you admit smoking, and I smoke like an steam train, hehe, everywhere, every-time, you must have some Psychological issues, somehow that line have crept in everywhere, the reason for us using drugs must be so kind of an post traumatic damage of some sort, you just cant be real when you say, that this is utter bullshit, what I persive is the problem is ignorance, about everything, incl human psyche.

    Its like I have to be “sick” for wanting hashish, even worse, since Hashish is regarded as equal to heroin, I know its not, but I have personally never tried Heroin, have no urge of trying Heroin, other than if the pain level increases, I may have to begin use Heroin, pure heroin isnt a problem, its everything else that follows, incl Hygiene, witch is largely ignored.
    To me Drugs are my own bissenisse, what I use is non others god dammed bissenisse, and I have jobbed my entire life, had no problems with that either, but just because of admitting drug use, you are parked along old time junkies, as an criminal creature, any ex-junkie can tell you horror storied about what and how the society regards them and treats them, like an pariah cast, the lowest there is.
    In Norway you loose your job, your certificate, economy crashing, with consequences of course, for your own family, your children will be taken away, since you are an junkie aka an drug abuser, poor children, and so on, an snow ball effect, thats why I say to the others, admit everything, even crucifying Jesus, but never admit use, smoke it, yeah, but never say you use it daily, never ever do that.
    Norway is like an medieval shit hole, and I know I will move away from this shit hole, mountains and fjord, nice land covered with sobs and scums, mountain monkeys.
    I smoke because I like it, otherwise I would never use it, now its also an medical issue, to.

    Our problem is people in general, the ignorance and simple petty cowardliness debating drugs makes it harder, when the MSM pimps downright lies and fakes the rest, and eventually when nothing else works, some social hard core porn about some peoples life, and their family’s, weird, why not debate how “normal” family’s end up equally bad as some junkies or alcoholics homes are/is. I have seen it all, but somehow the people focuses on drugs, alcohol is just, like tides, an law of the nature, beat the shit out of your wife an blame alcohol and its like Ok dumb but you know, drunk is an excuse, huh, nice,n like blaming drugs for everything is to an pathetic excuse, some can say that, but the majority is by me, regarded as utter nonsense, everybody blames everything else, except them self, drugs is an convenient excuse, instant gratification in the environment, right, poor thing, while I would simply place my right foot up their asses and kick hard.
    The reality is, the drug use is just an niche product, and should be totally legalized, like Portugal.
    No exceptions what so ever.
    But I am afraid the day they legalize it, it will be monopolized and home growing will still be illegal, they will never allow anyone to abolish the state monopoly in everything from alcohol to drugs, like medics, someone will get the jack pot, but not the people.
    Netherlands is also an paradox, an result of ridiculous compromises, political freak shows, and they end up half way, 3 plants, hald of that in bags in the shops, huh.
    Equally in Spain, ridiculous again, cannabis but not hashish, jesus.
    Etc, thats where it will go, and the Govs still have uh… “control”, right, the excuse for monopolizing everything, funny.

    The other issue is Hemp.
    You can build Cars with hemp, the body made of hemp, hemp is even better than fiber glass, some where between that an carbon fiber. but the cannabis have one more advantage, its flexible as well.
    Bio-diesel, was original intended to be made out of hemp.
    The other reason for not using hemp is the Oil ind. that feeds us with plastic, in all forms, comes from oil.
    Hemp can replace it all, an on top of it, an hemp bag can be eaten, plastic cant.
    And then we have the medical issue.
    To me, it just dampens the pain level, I have a cronical back issue witch is spread around, affecting hands to my frets, I am stiff, hehe.
    Have to use, crouches from time to time, since the muscle control also is affected.
    But I know its been help in bay, by cannabis.
    The second is been stone, I have no problems with been stone anywhere anytime, encountering anyone, I usually dont do that, because of respect to others, so I diversify my use, to focus on using it at my home.

    I watch people die, cancer, after cancer, I know they could be saved, or at least had an better time, the last time they had, but I also know it would be like talking to an wall, to indoctrinated into the “science” of to day, the medical scams have been hammered for so long that anything else is an “conspiracy”, or downright ugh….. quackery.
    Its no fun, to know that, things could be different, but they died because of ignorance and arrogance witch was and is been induced every day into the people, from the establishment and I dont blame the people, I blame the Gov. and the so called Medical Ind. complex, killing more people everywhere than the Military ind. complex, fascinating isn’t it, its dead silent, you can hear an fly fart miles way.

    peace

  • gomez K